Days 2 & 3 of 1/2 marathon training… ugh!



Good evening everyone!  Today was crazy busy at work so I am happy to be relaxing at Erie Island Coffee with a hot cup of decaf and the conversations of others in the background.  Aaahhhh!

So I yesterday was day 2 and it was a rest day.  I moved apartments last night so that took ALL my time after work! I will have a really pretty view now and can see clear down to the park!  While I was a work yesterday I went to squat down to pick something up off the floor and I felt an awful sharp pain shoot through the anterior medial (front middle) side of my shin.  I continued to feel the quick sharp pain sporadically through out the day.  I knew exactly what it was….SHIN SPLINTS!!!!  I have been running for about a week or two already and when I get that runner’s high I just can’t quit.  Not good as the experts suggest increasing you mileage by NO MORE THAN 10%.  I don’t listen very well sometimes so now I am paying the price.   Also, I will be the first to admit that I need to purchase new running shoes.  I thought the ones I had could get me by a little longer but apparently not.  So tonight and the next 6 days will be dedicated to TONS of stretching, yoga and biking.  I want to keep up the cardio and really need to be stretching like a mad woman Every. Single. Day.

I have never had shin splints before so this really is a set back and I don’t want it to be a mental one that derails me in the beginning of my training.

There are all sorts of YouTube videos about yoga for running.  I am not a personal trainer (yet) so I will not be suggesting any particular one.  There are plenty though!  🙂

Runner’s World has a great article all about shin splints and how to prevent and treat them.

shininjury (

So I will keep you updated on the progress of the crappy shin splints and tips I will be sure to be asking the physical therapists at the hospital where I work!  So for now it will be R.I.C.E

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Along with yoga, biking and a foam roller too!  Foam rollers are great to work the kinks out of you muscles and help break up the fascia (a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ.)

Wish me luck!

Good night my friends and I will talk with you tomorrow!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


1/2 marathon day 1….not bad ;)


Hey Folks!  May we first talk about the amazing weather we had in Cleveland today?!?!?!  It hit a high of 58 degrees, did you hear me?!  58!  This day one year ago I was moving into my place battling 3′ snow drifts.  Today people were running in shorts and a t-shirt! 😀

Okay okay… let me get back on track.  lol…

So I have been training for about a week now but I am using this as day one since it is the first day I am sharing it with you all.  But let me back up to yesterday.

Usually I like to run first thing in the morning.  Yep that’s right I am a morning person!  Don’t hate me… I know a lot of people find that to be incredibly annoying :/  Anyways, yesterday was beautiful too so I decided to let it warm up a bit and go running mid morning.  BIG MISTAKE man, big mistake.  I ate a decent breakfast and still had not digested it enough by the time I went on my run so therefore my 3.2 miles were totally crappy and seriously I had to walk/run.  Lesson learned!

Today however was my cross training day 😀  Here is what I did a a favorite local park with an amazing panoramic view of Lake Erie!

  1. Stairs at my local park carrying 5lb hand weights in each hand.  I climbed them straight up and sideways on both sides.
  2. Bicep curls, triceps lifts and front and side arms raises with the weights while climbing the stairs.
  3. Tricep dips, 3 sets of 12
  4. Forearm planks 3 sets at 30 seconds each.  (my upper body is like spaghetti right now.)
  5. Using a blue therapy band and placed it under the balls of my toes and stood about hip width apart.  I then criss-crossed the band in front of me and side stepped 12 steps to the left and then 12 steps to the right.  I repeated this 3 times on each side.
  6. Keeping the band in place under my feet I then did arm raises and arms pulls.
  7. 3 sets of 12 squats.
  8. Calf raises 3 sets of 12.
  9. Leg raises sitting down
  10. Leg raises standing and extending my leg out behind me at a slight angle.

Side note:  I get really bored lifting weights so I combined cardio and weight lifting!  Whoop Whoop Go ME!


My mom and I went out to breakfast in Lakewood at Borderline Cafe.  So delicious!  We split a muffin, a fruit bowl and a veggie omelette with hash browns and rye toast.  Seems like a lot but again, we split everything and even then couldn’t finish it all.

Post cross-training I had a protein smoothie.  I use Garden of Life Raw Protein vegan organic protein powder with vanilla.


I added unsweetened Almond milk, kale (minus the stems), a banana and strawberries.  I put everything in the blender and poured it into my 16oz. shaker bottle.  It tasted soooo delicious!

Later today my family gathered for my brothers birthday celebration!  My big brother turned 42!  Sometimes I cannot believe how fast time flies.  It seems like yesterday that we were all walking to elementary school in our freshly ironed uniforms!

Circa 1984?

It is a bit of a grainy photo but you get the gist.  😀

So at the party I had chips and dip (not a lot but maybe too many.)  I also had a black bean burger with baked beans and coleslaw.  I didn’t do too bad!  On the first of January I gave up sweets and a lot of processed sugar.  I cannot tell you how good I feel!  My energy level at work is consistent and the sugars highs and lows have ceased to exist!  It has been 31 ones days I don’t really ever crave sugar!  So needless to say I didn’t have any birthday cake or ice cream tonight.  Lori 1, sugar devil 0!

That concludes my “first day” of keeping myself accountable!  Like I said please share any tips you may have for my nutrition and training!

Tomorrow is a rest day as I will be working all day then moving apartments (within my building.)

See ya tomorrow!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



1/2 Marathon training..suggestions welcome!

photo from




Good morning everyone!

So today starts something very new for me that is exciting and a little scary!  I am starting to train for a 1/2 marathon and in doing so I will be posting updates to hold myself accountable for my progress.  I not only want to be accountable to myself but to you all as well!

And please, if any of you have advice for training let me know in the comments sections!  Advice is WELCOME!!!

My running story:

I have been a runner ever since elementary school at Sacred Heart of Jesus.  My dad and another fellow dad of a student coached our cross country team.  From that moment I was completely hooked.  I ran from elementary school through my senior year of high school.  My dad would train me me by driving along side me as I was running.  He was instrumental in my running.  I broke a few records and was excelling but then things came to a halt the summer before my sophomore of high school.  I cheered my freshman year much to my dad’s dismay.  He said more than once that I would ruin my knee cheer-leading but I loved it so much that I just ignored his warnings.  I was trying out for the cheer-leading squad the summer before my sophomore year and completely blew out my left knee.  Total reconstruction with screws and all holding my knee together.  It was a total blow to my athleticism.  Coming back after that was not easy.  I was used to being fast and now I was slow.  A friend’s mom used to call me rabbit and the one day she called me turtle… 😦  Eventually I rallied my spirits and ran track and cross- country again however my confidence never truly returned.  I had a really great coach Ms. Nolan.  I remember one day as we were running out on the track her telling me to leave the pack.  She knew I had what it took to break out and set the pace.  So I did.  But my confidence would fade again and I would stick with the group.  That is pretty much how I rounded out my high school running career.  Sad I know!  I even had a college recruiter call me.  But stupid me was so honest that when they mentioned my fasted mile time I told them I hadn’t run that in a couple of years!  Sometimes, as my dad says, I volunteer too much information.

My love of running never faded and over the years I have ran on and off.

A few years ago I trained with my friend Anna for the Towpath 1/2 marathon in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We trained hard up until the week of the race.  That same week I went to register only to be turned away as it was SOLD OUT!  All my hard work and dedication….gone.  So I went with Anna and her boyfriend at the time, to cheer her on and congratulate her at the finish line.  I was sooo bummed but also excited to cheer on my friend!

Now I want to train right and eat right so I can run the Grand Teton 1/2 marathon in Jackson, WY!  Currently I am battling a little bout of shin splints.  So I am learning HOW to train and learning to slow down instead of doing too much too soon.  My sister’s friend Megan suggested that I blog about my progress and everything that goes with it.  So thanks to Megan for being the catalyst in this!  Also Megan is quite the runner herself so I may ask her to do a guest blog post so she can talk about her training 😀

So thanks in advance for all the support and advice!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



Canoeing Cananda!!! My favorite scenic trip!


Algonquin Provincial Park Ontario, Canada~ one of my all time favorite scenic trips 😀

We are here!

I am so happy to finally be telling you guys about this trip that I took back in August!  My friend Erik from the backpacking group had brought up the idea of this trip way back in February and from the instant the words came out of his mouth I COULD NOT WAIT to GO!!!  The way he described the place was just awesome.  So after months of his planning and pre-trip meetings we were off  to Canada!

Erik told us that we all could bring a few extra luxuries as we were canoeing and therefore didn’t have to carry all of our weight.  Not going to lie,  that was kind of nice 😉  There were 3 of us riding together in my car.  My car by the way is a tiny little hatchback.  However, we managed to fit a cooler, 3 stuffed to the brim backpacks, road snacks, maps, extra boots, clothes for the trip and 3 happier humans in my tiny little car.  Two of those humans were over 6 feet tall and had at least a good 12 inches on me.  Tom and Ausra were awesome and somehow didn’t complain one bit about the lack of space for their long  About half way through the trip up I asked Tom if he wanted to drive but he couldn’t as a bunch of gear was piled behind the drivers seat and he couldn’t put the seat back.  His head was cocked to the side and his body smooshed behind the wheel…lol!  Poor guy did try though!  Ausra sat in the back the whole time…comfortably (she never complained)??? Hahaha.

Tall dude!

As we began our trip to the the great white north we all chatted about what we hoped to see and experience.  I don’t think one of us knew just how blown away we’d all be when we actually arrived!

We all met up and car camped the first evening.  I borrowed a friends hammock set up for this trip.  I have always wanted to try hammocking (did I just make up a word?  lol) but was unsure about having the privacy to take care of personal needs (changing clothes and freshening up) when one is out and about in the backcountry.  I really was surprised to find that it didn’t make much of a difference!  I had a rain fly that served as a cover for the hammock during down pours and also as a privacy shield, so I was quite happy.  🙂  The set up is TOTALLY easy and I will definitely camp like this again in the future!

That first night we all gathered around the fire at Tea Lake Campground and Erik and his girlfriend brought along fancy smores that involved Oreo’s.  Not a big fan of the fancy “new”snack but the gesture was really nice.  We all sat around drank wine and beer  and snacked on foods everyone brought to share.

Part of The Algonquin Gang!

We awoke the next morning and I went down to the lake and sat in quiet solitude as I made my coffee and breakfast (oatmeal) and meditated for a bit.

First morning view 🙂

It was a misty morning and the weather was ridiculously perfect.  After breakfast we all packed up our gear and headed down to the main boat launch area to gather our boats, oars and pick up any last minute items at the portage store.

Once we all had that we needed we headed down to the docks!

I CANNOT tell you in words the pure BEAUTY of this place at first sight.  All of a sudden I was completely and totally relaxed.  I was so filled with contentment, love, and gratefulness.

Side note:  To be able to travel is the most important thing to me outside of my family.  I would crumble and wither if I could not get in my car and seek out the beauty of this indescribable, amazing and majestic world.

The sky was the perfect blue and the clouds just popped up all around us like they were saying, “Hello!  Welcome to Algonquin!”  Dudes…it was sooooo  perfect!  Then came time to shove off and below is the first picture I took once we were in the canoe and it is my favorite pic of this trip.

Full steam ahead!

All I wanted to do was jump in the water and swim around Smoke Lake!  The weather we had that extra long weekend was gorgeous!  Not super hot but hot enough to enjoy getting splashed by the occasional rogue paddle slamming into the water 😉  We paddled and paddled all day long leisurely wandering around the lakes and taking in the views.  I really wanted to see a moose grazing at the water’s edge but unfortunately I didn’t see one the entire time.  Bummer dude! Although on the way back I did see a moose in the trees!


Let me take a minute to write about the amazing sounds I DID hear throughout my trip up there.  It was the fist night, I was swaying in my hammock and reading a book I had brought when I suddenly perked up.  I heard what I thought were wolves.  It wasn’t until we were out on the water that I first saw these crazy strange looking wolves….um..I mean loons!  They make the coolest sounds when calling out into the night.  Here is a little video about them and the sounds they make.  So awesome!



We meandered around lakes, islands and gatherings of water filled Lily fields.  To get to other lakes we had to carry our gear, boats and food over what are called “portages”, they are little snippets of land that you have to cross over to get to another lake.  It wasn’t that bad.  We quickly learned to carry our gear first then go back for the boats. We did rent the light weight canoes but they are still kind of heavy for one person!  We also learned to carry them above our bodies instead of by the handles hanging below our hips.  I don’t have a high enough clearance for that!  Hahaha…#shortgirlproblems!  Some of the portages were short and others were quite steep for carrying boats but we all pitched in and got the job done and continued on to our next lake.

Figuring out the gear situation at one of the portages

We camped at Big Porcupine Lake. and the view was stunning!

Enjoying the view with friends. Also my favorite group pic. 😀

Gosh as I am writing this I am chomping at the bit to go back!!!

We went swimming here and it was so liberating!  The water was so clean and fresh!  Some swam to an island across the way.  I just floated and swam all around the shore!  Any trip where you can go swimming is the best!!!!  Just like jumping off of Jump Rock down at the Red River Gorge!

The last night of our stay was one of the best as this crazy cool thunderstorm lulled us to sleep and the light show was unstoppable!  It was absolutely super cool swaying in the hammock while the rain fell upon the rain fly and I gently swayed back and forth.

Hammock life 🙂

Now let us chat about the bear that a couple of us SWEAR came through the camp that night.  I could not feel the heavy footsteps that Beth felt in her tent but I heard SNUFFLING!!!   I was snuggled in my hammock just about to turn off my headlamp and put my book away for the night when I heard it!  And this is NOT some fish story!!!  I lifted up the edge of the rain fly that hung above me and tried to peek out into the darkness to see where the bear was at!!!!!!  I couldn’t see a thing.  So I went over a mental checklist in my head.

  1. Food is hanging up in a bear bag up in a tree quite a distance from camp.
  2. Any morsels of food that may have dropped from dinner around my hammock have been cleared away.
  3. No lotion or lip balms in my hammock or pants pocket.

So with my metal checklist, “checked off” I laid there as freakin’ qietly as I could and tried not to breathe!!!!!!  I would love to see a bear on one of my backcountry trips but at a distance.  After what seemed like forever the snuffling stopped and I relaxed a bit.  Then it started up again!  I would not have been freaking out but the rangers at the office a few days before told us they had to close one of the campsites because of bears.  So I laid there thinking, “Well if this is the way I am going to exit this world then at least I am doing something I love!”  Eventually out of pure exhaustion I fell asleep.  The next morning Beth told me she could feel the earth shake around her but she didn’t hear the snuffling.  I told her I couldn’t feel the earth shake but I heard the snuffling.  Ausra said she heard and felt it!  The others did not.  So the consensus is that there was a bear, whether the others believed us or NOT!  Hahaha!

We rounded out our trip with more swimming and lots of amazing views.

So many memories from this trip!  Until next time…


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Skateboarding before dawn

I love love love waking up before the sun and being alone with nature.  It is quiet and peaceful and I get to have the lake to myself before the morning joggers and walkers join me on the path.  Before I go to work I give myself a chance to put my mind at ease and breathe deeply knowing that I get to return to the lake in 11 hours.  I purchased my Sector 9  about 6 years ago when I lived in San Francisco.  I was hanging out with my neighbors who were sort of hippie lazy cool and going through their goods they were selling at their garage sale.  I came across a skateboard, the cruising kind.  Despite the tsunami warning that was in effect, we were totally unaware until I received a phone call from my mother who had been watching the news in Ohio, I was riding the skateboard up and down the street for the rest of the afternoon.  The day was bright sunny and oh so warm that afternoon.  The breeze I was catching from rolling down hill got me HOOKED!  So my crazy neighbor who was sipping on his mate tea and I headed down to the ocean where there was a local skateboard shop.  With his help I picked out my first skateboard and have been on and off it ever since.

I would skateboard with their dog Sonny 10 blocks down to the ocean several times a week.  The cool thing about San Francisco is that they allow dogs on the beach.  Sonny was “THE COOLEST DOG” in the neighborhood!  So sweet and funny and loved the water.  I should have dognapped him!


Speaking of California, I had the most vivid dreams of Southern California last night.  I dreamt I was driving south on the 1 and I was watching the surfers surf and then wait for the good waves off the coast of Malibu.  I felt like I was home and never left…maybe time for a visit 😉  California does that to me whenever I go back.  Feels like home with a family member missing.  I know when February hits and Cleveland is in a deep dark freeze, I’ll be itching to get out there.  Into the warm California sun.  😀

Speaking of riding before dawn, it is 5:29am and I want to get to the lake before work.  So I hope you all have a very beautiful, fun and peaceful day!  Try something new today, something outside of your comfort zone.  Maybe skateboarding?!



“Give what you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

With or without in life.

old fashion rules

When you fall asleep at night are you alone?  Are you alone even if you are with someone who is right next to you?  Right now I sleep alone.  I have been in relationships where I felt alone even if my boyfriend was sleeping next to me.  Do you ever feel this way?  Regardless if you are married or not.  What happens when you think your life is what it should be but the loneliness settles in?  My last relationship was everything I wanted and everything I didn’t want.  Does that make sense?  It makes perfect sense and that is why I knew I had to get out and why I knew that I had to fight until my heart bled to try and make it work.  How do you know when to throw in the towel and when to stay?  Doesn’t anyone fight the good fight anymore or are we just disposable to one another?  And when you first meet someone…how soon do you know that they are either a friend, maybe something more or someone you just need to get to know better before you make a decision.  To those who are living a great love story, great!

I am someone who has a hard time following through on things.  I am a loyal and reliable friend but to me, myself, I am as reliable as a 2 legged stool.  I am not a grass is greener kind of woman.  I am just the type that has to be 110% sure about something before I go through with it, career and relationships that is.  I am as spontaneous as the weather in Cleveland!  lol.. I wouldn’t say that I have a fear of commitment BUT I do have a fear of being committed to the wrong person and career.  (I am doing fine in my life and I am still working on discovering my dharma..haha)

We have to be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with anyone, right?  Yes and no.  I love most things about myself.  There are areas that need work just like everyone else.  But since WHEN do we have to walk through life alone until every little ripple calms?!

What happens when you meet someone that you have the connection with, “the connection”? You know, the one where you just “get” each other.  The one where you look at the other person and you are both thinking the same things.  The one that even though you aren’t in the same room you feel their presence?  I have had those.  But what if that connection is with the wrong person?  Or right person wrong time?  Do you stop acting on it?  Do you put it on the back burner and wait until the time may be right?  What if that person isn’t currently available?

We hear it all the time, “Nice guys finish last or no one likes a guy who is too nice.”  I don’t think either of those are true!  I have met/reconnected with a string of nice guys recently but I am just not attracted to them because I don’t feel that connection to them.  Give it time they say, you’re too picky they say, not everyone has “the connection” they say.  Well, I have had “the connection” therefore I know it exists.  My sweet dear aunt told me once that maybe I am not meant to be with anyone.  What the hell?  Humans are not solitary creatures.  I certainly am not solitary.  I love my alone time but when I have been lacking human connection it plays on my psyche.  I am a people person.  I love talking, listening and interacting with people.

However, I rather be alone than with the wrong man.  That is true.  But when are we going to stop with the whole independent movement?  Men and women have gender roles.  Not the societal ones that have been impressed upon us but the innate ones.  In nature it is the male who woos his potential mate.  Archaic?  I don’t know.  About a year ago I was camping with a group of people and there was this one guy who was cute (super tall and a little like Paul Bunyan) but a bit pompous.  We were having a debate about what would happen if an intruder came into camp.  He said I would run and hide behind the men hoping they would be able to fend off the intruder.  I, being the ever so stubborn feminist said, “I certainly would not!!!  Why would I ever look to a man to defend me?”  Well flash forward a year or so and I now know I would do what I could but men are physically stronger then women (well some of the time anyways..haha) and I would have no problem looking to the strongest man if a fight broke out.   Is that sexist?  I don’t think so.

I do think that every relationship is a give and take and it is not always going to be 50/50.  I believe that people give up too easily.  Not because they stopped loving the other person but because they are scared of what is going on inside themselves.  I loved an ex-boyfriend of mine.  We once had this beautiful moment in a deli parking lot.  We looked at each other, knew we were thinking the same loving thoughts and both cried a little at the same time.  That was enough for me to know that we had “the connection.”  But later amidst out struggles  I saw a brighter side of us that he didn’t.  What I really saw was a side of us that I wanted from someone but maybe or maybe not from him but I was willing to do the work to find out.  He wasn’t.  Eventually I knew it wasn’t going to be possible on either of our parts because it was going to be too hard for both of us to be raw with one another.  I was too scared and so was he too I think.  I also knew when it was finally time to throw in the towel.  But what came out of that was a painful amazing beautiful struggle that lead me here, right here, in the library writing this.

I am not afraid to put my feelings out there.  Why should we be afraid?  The song and dance of things is getting to the point of ridiculousness.  We are so disconnected.  We are afraid of how we are going to let the other person make us feel therefore we hide behind technology and our own walls.  What happened to romance, respect and effort?  Are we just feeling-less beings that get together for the sake of reproducing or dwelling together to keep up with where our peers are in life?  I don’t want a roommate that I happen to have sex with.  I want a partner.  I want a MAN.  An encouraging, loyal, honest, moral, hard working (no matter the profession),  funny as hell, gentle giant of character who knows how to treat a woman of the same character…but I also want/need “the connection.”

So to my dear aunt, no, I am not meant to be alone.  To my brother, neither of our parents had a college degree.  To people who think women are suppose to be strong and independent, DAMN STRAIGHT!  To me:  you are an amazing strong independent lady, and it is perfectly okay to take the man’s hand when he is trying to help you up.  It is also perfectly okay to walk away when all resources of “help” have been exhausted.

We don’t just want one another, we really do NEED one another.


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday… running and a recipe!

Good evening everyone!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Nothing special about Saturday…I worked 12 hours 😥

Buuuut what a great Sunday morning!!! 🙂  I awoke slowly and it felt great!

While I was laying in bed reveling in the warm blankets while a cool breeze gently blew through my bedroom window, I contemplated going for a run.  Stay under the warm covers or lace up my sneeks and get out there?!?!  After several minutes…haha…I threw on my running clothes and shoes and headed out the front door.  I am lucky to live by a HUGE metro park and about super close to the lake!  When I head out for a run my route possibilities are endless.  I am so so lucky!  I know I have said this before but I have been wanting to live in this location for sooooooo long.  I have been here for 7.5 months and I still love EVERYTHING about being here!  There is so much life and tranquility here.  You can be in the middle of everything or in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday’s route took me past the bakeries, over the marina and across the bridge that goes over the Rocky River right before is flows out to Lake Erie and down to The Cleveland Yacht Club.  The yacht club is private so I wasn’t able to run through it but it was pretty cool seeing all the boat bobbing at the docks.  It was a bit chilly out so I decided to put a long sleeve shirt underneath my tee.  Ugh..I had to wiggle it off midway through my run because I became overheated.  It’s a weird weather time of year in Cleveland (but then when isn’t?!)

After I ran home, I showered and found my way to Erie Island  to blog to you guys and look up coconut curry sauce recipes. I am going to add my own selection of fresh organic veggies and lentils.  This weather that Cleveland had this past weekend made for a perfect day to cook something warm and delicious!  I am not a huge cook but the older I get the less of a hurry I am in and the more I like taking my time at home to do things.

I found a simple and I stress simple because I don’t like to spend a ton of money on ingredients that I’ll use once in a blue moon.  So, simple = low cost and just as delicous!


I don’t really share recipes (because cooking is NOT my forte) but I found this simple one at

My friend and I enjoyed it in cute mugs.  So how that made taste even better…lol!

I wrapped up my Sunday by having great conversation with a good friend 😀 After they left I did a little meditation and went to bed early as I have yet another crazy work week ahead of me!

Until next time!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Red River Gorge Part II: Jump Rock, Cloud Splitter and Indian Staircase

Hello Peeps!

(Edited to add:  I started this post a few nights ago after work!)

I am blogging today from Harry Buffalo with a refreshing Blue Moon on the mahogany  bar!  Sometimes on a hot summer day you just have to do what you have to do!  Smile  I only worked my normal hours today and it felt great to get off of work at a decent hour!  I went home, changed, loaded up the backpack and went for a walk.  I was originally going to go to the coffee shop but hey… why not a refreshing beverage?!

Ok…Let’s dig into part two of the amazing wondrous Red River Gorge!

While the first day or so was pretty awesome, nothing could compare to the last two days.  We woke up Saturday morning packed up our tents and gear and headed back to the car to drive waaaaay across the park to a place so great that I can only describe it as humbling and beyond beautiful.  We reloaded on water and hiked with our packs a tiny bit to the RIVER! Down about a mile on a worn path then across this really cool little suspension bridge.

Photo: Matthew Photo: Matthew

Now when you have been on the trail for a couple of days, a body of water is a sight for sore eyes, legs, shoulders and minds!!!  As we were hiking the short distance to the campsite that Dingo and Matthew had scouted out ahead of time as we were repacking and reloading on water, we were watching all sorts of people jumping off the ginormous rock that loomed above the water about 35 feet.  Now that may not seem high to some people…but trust me, when you are standing on top of it and looking down it is definitely high!!!!  So a couple of us quickly set up our tents and headed to the rock to jump into the cool refreshing Red River!!!  Now, I am not afraid of heights but my friend Eliese is!  Guess who stood atop the rock chickening out while the other jumped in like it was not big deal?!  I was scared!!!  What the heck dudes?  Eliese was like, “Whatever man” and jumped in like it was nothing!  About 10 minutes later I jumped with help of a bunch of dudes goading me and cheering me on from the other side!  It was TOTALLY AWESOME!!!  It felt so good to cool off and just swim around and take in all the beauty and everyone’s positivity on the shores of the river!  I was in an absolute state of bliss!  I ended up jumping a couple more times Open-mouthed smile

Jump Rock!! Photo: Matthew Jump Rock!! Photo: Matthew

Most of us jumped from the rock and swam for a little while and then headed back to camp all “clean” (lol…) and put on clean dry clothes.  Aaaahhhh…. it felt great to be somewhat “clean!”  We then cooked our own individual dinner and gathered around the fire with some tasty spirits!  We had sooo much fun sharing stories and comparing thoughts and notes about the trip thus far.  Even the quiet ones of the group started to speak up and share…Ahem.. Matthew and Dingo.  😉  We fell asleep under the stars with clean bodies, full bellies and smiles on all our faces!  It was the perfect ending to an incredible day!

We woke up Sunday morning to the patter of rain on a tent/hammock flys and were seriously debating whether or not we would be able to conquer Indian Staircase.  I am SO TOTALLY HAPPY that the rain subsided and we were able to enjoy the rest of our day!  We loaded up our gear and threw it in the car.  We then put on our day packs and trekked out to the first stop, Cloud Splitter.  Now there were 2 ways to get to this spot.  The easy way, and the hard way.  Dingo, Darwin and I chose the hard way…lol.  It really wasn’t all that bad.  The hike was pretty vertical but the distance was short…thank goodness because after consuming a few spirits the night before I was grateful for the short vertical hike!  The other 3/4’s of the group chose the “easier” way gradually winding up the side of the hill that led to the rock and somehow we completely missed them at our anticipated meetup point.  I stayed behind at the base of what turned out to be Cloud Splitter.  I was there by myself for about 30-40 minutes and decided to turn the surrounding rocks into a bouldering outing.  It was a smaller boulder but none the less it felt so good to be “climbing.”  Side note: The Red River Gorge is also a hot spot destination for rock climbing.

my little bouldering problem! my little bouldering problem!

It was fun climbing the different routes I found and it passed the time rather quickly.  🙂

When we finally met up with rest of group we headed up to the tackle Cloud Splitter.

When climbing to the top of Cloud Splitter you can either take the narrow winding path or use the precarious rope (God only knows how old it is) that makes the ascent way more fun.  I of course chose the rope!

Photo: Darwin Photo: Not mine

When got to the top of the rock the views were impressive.  However, a local guide we stumbled upon showed us the real reason why the rock got it’s name.  First, we had to get to that spot.

There was climbing up an old tree log, shimmying our way through the crack of the rock and finding our footing to climb down to the “hole” in the side of the rock.

Shimmying down! Photo: Dhino Shimmying down! Photo: Digno

When we finally worked our way through the rock we ended up here…

Cloud Splitter from afar. Photo: Dingo Cloud Splitter from afar.
Photo: Dingo

The cut out in the middle of the rock is where we ended up and going the route we went is the only way to get there.  It was beyond cool to be peering out the middle of a massive rock.  Second to none was the seeing why the rock received it’s name.

The rock splits the clouds! Photo: Matthew The rock splits the clouds! Photo: Matthew

Once you are inside of this impressive rock, you look up to see the clouds being split by the slit in the rock.  We were all in awe.  Knowing that this has been here for thousands of years and being able to witness this striking vision, well, it humbles you beyond belief.  We are just a speck and the world is our playground.

Next we moved on to Indian Staircase.  There aren’t any marked trails and the locals don’t really share too much info on it’s whereabouts.  Again, they try to keep some things sacred.    The way these foot holds have endured over the years is just plain awesome.  Sometimes when I get to a really cool spot I sit there and wonder about how the place was back in the day.  I love it!

Ok now….the ascent wasn’t that bad.  However, the descent freaked me out a bit!

Pictures first, talk second!

Grooves in the granite Grooves in the granite “stairs.” We didn’t have any really good photos so I borrowed one from

descent down uptostaircase

It was sketchy going up. We had to scramble up some pretty big rocks but it was fun climbing. 🙂 However, going down…ugh… I made Matthew stay in front of me the whole time because I thought for sure I would slide off the darn thing!  It was sandy and therefore slippery.  I was relieved my body didn’t end up and the bottom of the gorge!  I pictured myself sliding down uncontrollably like in a cartoon or something and then being catapulted way up in the air and then like Wile E. Coyote, suddenly stopping mid-air and just plummeting straight down!  Hahaha…not funny!

When you reached to top you could see well over 180°!  Gorgeous!!  You could also shuffle your way down to Frog’s Head.  Be careful though because there is nothing on but a shear drop on either side of the “head.”  I didn’t shuffle down because after consuming a few spirits the night before I was not fully trusting my footing.

Frogs head Photo: Dingo Frogs head
Photo: Dingo

The pictures we took DO NOT do this place justice!  If you ever get a chance to visit I would make a must see on your list.  It was a rather impressive journey.

We met a group of young guys who were climbing up the same as us and one kid had the most interesting design on his body.

Photo: Melissa Photo: Melissa

Yep! He was riding in a convertible without a shirt on…but at least he had his seat belt on!!  LOL…..

Speaking of really cool guys I want to mention a great kid we all met the night we cowboy camped on the ridge underneath a blanket of stars (and one unsightly cell tower.)  His name is Thomas and he was out solo packing.  He was sweet, kind and personable.  I love meeting awesome people on the trail.  He has his head on straight and is smart.  Meet Thomas 🙂

Great kid! Photo: Me Great kid! Photo: Me

When all was climbed, hiked, swam and thoroughly explored we load up our gear and headed down to Miguel’s for some great pizza!

Photo: Dingo Photo: Dingo
Dingo chomping down on some great pizza and drinking an Ale 8! Photo: Melissa Dingo chomping down on some great pizza and drinking an Ale 8! Photo: Melissa

This was a fantastic trip!  I cannot wait to go back and explore all the other places we couldn’t fit into a long weekend!

Next up:  Canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park Ontario, Canada!!!!

Until my next adventure post….


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Red River Gorge Part 1…Falling asleep to sunsets on the ridge

Good Morning Everyone!  I hope everyone is doing awesome on this gorgeous summer day!!!

I have been on the go go go and have finally found some time to catch up on my travels this summer!

I wanted to spend the summer running and climbing, ya know… chillin’ on the rocks with friends, meeting new climbers and runners.  Unfortunately I kept sustaining minor injuries that kept me from doing these awesome things!  Sprained ankles, shin splints etc…(I never get rid of a pair of crutches…lol  I keep them just in case! Hahaha)  So I went back to my other love, backpacking!  You get to use hiking poles for stability and hiking boots with great ankle support.  By no means is backpacking considered easy but it is less stressful on the body then trail running and climbing.  So backpacking it is!

I was able to visit some very cool places this summer!  First up The Red River Gorge in Kentucky!  I made this a two part post because I couldn’t possibly fit all the greatness that this trip was into a single post!

Sunrise over the Red River Gorge :) Sunrise over the Red River Gorge 🙂

I have been wanting to visit The Red River Gorge for so long and I am soooo happy that my good friend Darwin from the backpacking group decided to put this trip together.  I have driven through Kentucky before but I have never really spent time exploring this great state.  It was a trip that was absolutely breathtaking!

We started out on Thursday morning and roadtripped 7 hours to the gorge.  We had 5 people in the car I was in.  Two I already knew and the other 2 people quickly became friends!  I think whenever you throw a bunch of people in a car for several hours CRAZY things will be talked about and discussed.  Icelandic museums?!  We had a great time and quickly got to know one another!  There was another car that we caravanned with and they were equally awesome too!

When we finally arrived at the gorge we packed and repacked our packs and went on our way.  The great thing about this particular trip was that we backpacked out, set up camp and then day hiked.  I am soooo happy we did that!  Using a day pack instead of a mulit-day backpack made exploring the arches so much easier and we could cover more ground.  This trip wasn’t really about mileage.  It was about really getting to explore the area we were staying at and we loved it.

So when we finished neatly and efficiently packing our packs we started on our merry way.

“Umm dudes..there is a trail around here somewhere..maybe…well…maybe not..”
Our other fearless leader Matthew... Trails.. somewhere Our other fearless leader Matthew… Trails.. somewhere

The other leader stopped to fix is clothes or shoes or something so Matthew, Eliese and I took the lead down the trail that Darwin pointed us in.  We were lead right into an in-ground yellow jacket hive!!!  Matthew didn’t get  stung but I was right behind him and stepped directly onto it!  I was stung 6 times, Eliese 2 times!!!  While I was screaming like a banshee I didn’t notice that I ran right into a pricker bush.  So this is me post wrong trail/yellow jacket nest courtesy of our fearless leasder…lol..


It has healed up pretty nicely but he owes me a beer for sure!  Eliese too because she turned out to be somewhat allergic and her hand swelled up to 1.5 times it normal size and her eye looked like she was in a nasty bar fight!  (I won’t post her battle wounds…lol)

So… after getting back on track we found a campsite and set up camp.  It wasn’t the best campsite because not too far from it was what we could only guess was a used car part graveyard.  We think that one of the main trails used to be a service road way back in the day and that they would just leave used parts in the woods.  Not really nice to look at but we were far enough past it that it was out of eye sight.  We did find an old chair in the camp and Dingo (not his real name) was trying to pry it apart and stumbled upon a black widow and her baby spider sac!!!!!  We didn’t really fear momma black widow as she was NOT going to leave her babies to come visit us so all was cool and calm.  🙂

Later that night a few people went off in search of the sunset.  They found a spectacular one but I opted to lick my wounds and stay behind to build the fire along with Eliese as I believe she had had enough for the day too!  BUT the next morning I went to greet the sun and this is what I found..


You really have to click on the picture to make it bigger to get the full effect of the spectacular morning…it was AWEsome!!!  Those are my two friends Kathy and Melissa who cowgirl camped out on the the ridge.  Love those ladies!  That night we ALL joined them for a group cowgirl/boy camp.

Photo: Darwin

But back to that day!  After breakfast we loaded out daypacks with snacks and water and set off to find Star Gap Arch.

Star Gap Arch :) Star Gap Arch 🙂  Photo not mine

We spent a good amount of time exploring the arch and just basking in it’s beauty.  Now, the locals won’t tell you too much about the area as they want to keep what isn’t on the official trails sacred.  I don’t blame them…but if you do explore the unofficial trails you’ll find even more raw beauty!  The Gorge has so much to offer that it is impossible to see it all in just a few days!

We then went on to Auxier Ridge, Haystack Rock, Wizards Backbone, Courthouse Rock, Auxier Branch (valley), up to Double Arch and then finally back to camp.

Photo: Dingo Photo: Dingo
Photo: Dingo Photo: Dingo
RRG Crew Photo: Melissa RRG Crew Photo: Melissa
The views :) Photo: Melissa The views 🙂 Photo: Melissa
Cristy and Kathy yoga pose. Photo: Melissa Cristy and Kathy yoga pose. Photo: Melissa

At one point the heat was just getting to be a bit much.  When we stopped to filter water from a small river I took the opportunity to submerse my head and let the cool water flow over my hair and neck!  (after everyone was done filtering of coure!)   I convinced a couple of the other women to do it too and we all hiked back to camp feeling totally refreshed!  It was just what we needed!!!

Dunking Kathy! Lol... Photo: Linda Dunking Kathy! Lol… Photo: Linda

Waking up to sunrises, falling asleep to sunsets.  Seeing the majestic valley of the Red River Gorge from the top of a massive rock reminds me of why I put up with spiders, yellow jacket stings, and rattles snakes.  Beauty has a price and Mother Nature makes you pay your dues.   She is relentless in her ways but she gives what you need to survive and refresh your mind.

Stay tuned for Part 2!!  Cloud Splitter and Indian Staircase are going to be awesome!!  Not to mention jumping off a huge rock and swimming in the river!!! It’s going to be AWESOME!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Find alternative ways to exercise and rocking out to Journey!

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend 😀  This will be a quick little sweet post!

In my head I am still 24 years old!  However, my body is 38 FO real.  :/  I would like to think that if I had to be evaluated, a sports med doctor would say my body is truly about 28 years old.  (slip the doc $50 and call it a day ;))

Annnnnnyways…. I have been sustaining minor injuries from over use and improper warm up.  I know better but hey when you feel good you feel good and you push your body a little harder.  Enter in shin splints in my right shin, a slightly pulled muscle in my right quad and a still sensitive sprained left ankle.  What the HECK dude?!?!  I am a competitive person.  Especially with myself.  So I was chillaxing at home and wondering what the heck I was going to do for cardio and strength training while giving my lower body a rest from high impact cardio.  Ugh…I can’t tell you the last time I have been to the rock gym!  Totally depressed about that one…with my ankle still being sore and sensitive I cannot jump down from bouldering problems.

So I decided to pull out my yoga mat and do more than just the normal routine of awesome stretches.

yoga at the beach dudes :)
yoga at the beach dudes 🙂

It has been a while since I have attended an actual yoga class on a regular basis.  I used to go all the time when I lived in Southern California.  In L.A. you could go to a yoga class pretty much anytime of day, even midnight.  I loved it!  Now that I am back in Ohio it is a little harder as the studios are more spread out, the schedules aren’t really that conducive and the variety of yoga just isn’t there.  Well not as much as SoCal.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and YouTube the crap out of online yoga!  Benefits?  Free and I can do it in my own home.  Sounds pretty good to me.  Except I get bored at home and generally dislike working out at home.  And since I am problem solver..hahaha…I took my mat outdoors.  I would say 4 out of 7 mornings you can find me at a local beach or grassy park running through various yoga poses.

sunrise yoga :)
sunrise yoga 🙂
Yoga on the hill top!
Yoga on the hill top!

I feel so much stronger than I did a week ago!  Especially in my shoulders which are a tough spot for me to train.  Before I head out the door I look up new poses and/or poses for what body parts I am struggling with.  It is so easy to do and the benefits are amazing.  I know I am walking taller and straighter too!  Now I just need another yoga mat.  One for indoors and one for outdoors.

As I was driving home from work this evening (Sunday as I am writing this) I was flipping through the stations on the radio and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ came on.  I was totally dancing, singing and rocking out on the highway home.  After it was over I found it playing on ANOTHER station.  I mean the universe wanted an encore of my first performance right?!?!?!!!  I gladly obliged  and rocked out aaagain! I didn’t care who watching me as the passed me by.  I was having too much fun!  I almost forgot to mention how AWESOME SAUCE I sounded!!!  Move over Steve Perry!!!

Peace out til next time and namaste dudes!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow